Labour’s leader on South Gloucestershire Council says that the authority will soon face a financial black hole at the same time as growing demands are made on its vital services.
Speaking at the Council’s annual budget setting meeting this evening, Councillor Pat Rooney highlighted the council’s official Financial Plan which shows that South Gloucestershire can only balance its budget next year by using up its £6.9 million of reserves, and that in 2019 the authority faces a £9.2 million black hole. This dire picture comes after £22 million of planned cuts have already been implemented.
Councillor Rooney says:
“South Gloucestershire Council has got to the point where it is forced to scramble around to find funds for essential spending. The council will have to use its reserves to balance the budget next year and then faces a £9.2M black hole in 2019 that is forecast to grow every successive year.
This comes at a time when services are coming under unprecedented pressure. Our social care budgets are being stretched beyond capacity and we are having to find an additional £910,000 a year just to meet the current level of demand on our children’s social services.
Our residents face year-on-year tax increases for steadily decreasing services and will pay a social care precept that is no more than a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. The government continues to pass the buck onto councils and our residents.
I am asking the Council’s Conservative Leader to go back to his friends in government and tell them that we can no longer bear this level of cuts.”
Councillor Rooney also criticises local Conservative councillors, saying:
“Our Conservatives promised the abolition of the green bin charge as the centrepiece of their election campaign. We always said this was the wrong spending priority and now they have been forced to drop it quietly because of their government’s tight-fistedness. It is clear that they could not possibly afford to deliver on this promise.”